Stop in the Name of Love

By The Rev. Aaron M. G. Zimmerman

Jesus said, “Be rude unto others, as you would have them be rude unto you.”

OK, he never said that. 

But he might if he were faced with a pandemic. 

Let me explain. The day after the mayor’s shelter-in-place order, I went for a run. It’s my favorite way to blow off steam, and like everyone else, I have been pretty stressed in these days of Coronavirus. 

As I returned home (feeling much better), I ran into one of my neighbors. He was taking a walk around the block. He approached and we started to chat. 

He was about ten feet away. 

We talked about the new world of Facebook live-streaming. 

He moved a little closer. Eight feet away. 

We talked about the challenges of doing church these days. 

He got a little closer. Seven feet away. 

As the conversation veered into billiards, I started to get nervous. We were about to violate the social distancing six-feet-apart rule. And he’s at risk: He’s older and lives with a 90-year-old. 

But I didn’t want to be, you know, not nice. Could I tell him to back up? It felt, well, downright rude! I faced a dilemma: what is proper etiquette during Coronatime? 

Then I remembered what Waco’s CEO (Chief Etiquette Officer) Sarah Aynesworth told me: Etiquette is not fundamentally about salad forks and stationery. It’s all about showing hospitality to other people, about honoring and respecting others. In other words, we are polite in order to be kind to others. 

This was my realization: in a time of a highly contagious pandemic, when I could be sick and not even know it, when vulnerable people are at great risk, and when medical supplies are in short supply, the most polite thing to do is to be rude. 

So here’s what I did. I held up my hand. Just like Diana Ross and the Supremes did in 1965 when they sang “Stop in the Name of Love.” Just like we did in the 1990s when “Talk to the hand” was a thing. 

And I told my friend, “I don’t mean to be rude, but for the sake of our families, we better follow this six-feet-apart rule.” 

My neighbor graciously backed up. 

To paraphrase Elvis Costello, in these days, it’s rude to be kind. So be rude! In the name of love, health, and public safety, be rude. 
I invite you to join me in adopting the new Caronavirus salute: Hold up that just-washed-for-twenty-seconds hand and say, “In the name of love, back up!” 

It’s what Jesus would do. 


The Rev. Aaron M. G. Zimmerman has served as the Rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church since 2013. He co-hosts a popular preaching podcast called Same Old Song (link: https://thesameoldsong.fireside.fm) and serves as a trustee of the Waco Foundation. He is an avid trail runner so keep an eye out for him in Cameron Park, his favorite spot in Waco. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

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12 Comments

  1. Isaac Kimball on March 26, 2020 at 10:46 am

    love this sir keep it up

  2. Chris Pieper on March 26, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Nanci Griffith (and Bette Midler) got this right a long time ago:

    God is watching us from a distance
    From a distance you look like my friend
    Even though we are at war
    From a distance I just cannot comprehend
    What all this fighting’s for
    From a distance there is harmony
    And it echoes through the land
    And it’s the hope of hopes
    It’s the love of loves
    It’s the heart of every man
    It’s the hope of hopes
    It’s the love of loves
    This is the song for every man

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lN4AcFzxtdE

  3. Kathy Davidson on March 26, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Loved the Supremes. Loved Stop in the Name of Love. Thanks for sho6us how to be rude with love.

  4. Jerrie Callan on March 26, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Great advice!

  5. Lucia Zimmerman on March 26, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Outstanding article re. His encounter ! “ be rude! In the name of Love, health and public safety, be rude, “.

  6. Ferrell Foster on March 26, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    The perfect post for this corona season.

  7. Audie on March 26, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Yes, indeed! Aaron, you always know how to say the “right” thing at the right time. Keep it up !
    God’s Timing is always Perfect!👍❤️🙏✝️

  8. Claire Moore on March 26, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    Aaron, you continue to amaze me with your strong faith, your love for your parishioners and their families, and your sense of humor. You are there in all kinds of need for us all.

  9. David E Stockwell on March 28, 2020 at 10:24 am

    Wow, Aaron…awesome. This balance between our feelings of friendship while maintaining a semblance of safety is very useful to think about in these times. Also appreciate the comment ( and link) from Chris Pieper.

  10. William Blackstone on March 28, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Love this. Love you. DadB

  11. Miriam on March 29, 2020 at 6:07 am

    Went to kindergarten at St Alban’s – thank you for your love, work and service – it is what Jesus would do!

  12. John Schulze on March 29, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Well said! I’ve actually found myself more likely to acknowledge strangers I meet on my walks as we give each other wide berth. I’m really quite introverted, but I think we need to show love in any little way we can.

    Speaking of acknowledgment, if you want to give due credit, it was Nick Lowe who wrote “Cruel to Be Kind.” He and Elvis Costello were of course close associates, and Elvis did a cover of Nick’s “What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?” but I can’t find any listing of him doing “Cruel to Be Kind.”

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